Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Notes on a Pattern - Butterick B6090

Way, way back in November of 2014 Rhonda  helped me fit Butterick B6090.  It was a workshop that she and Susan Khalje hosted in Chicago.  Oddly, I never made the dress, but I knew one day I would.  At the beginning of every year, I review my list of unfinished projects and decide which ones to add to my list of things to finish the first half of the year.  I pulled this muslin from the closet to try on to see if all the adjustments were still valid.  Luckily, they were. 

Prior to coming to the workshop, I made this muslin.  It was made with my initial pattern adjustments listed below:

  • FBA
  • Prominent Shoulder Blades
  • Swayback Adjustment
  • Lengthening of the Sleeve


Lengthen Sleeve

Prominent Shoulder Blades and Sway Back

My goal was to see if Rhonda or Susan could help me get the best fit for this dress and to provide my with the best approach for fitting a non-princess seam bodice. I love the way Rhonda talked through all of the changes as she made them and show me how the change affected the look and fit of the dress. 

Below are explanations of the changes.

Please note: this post is mainly to express the importance of making a muslin and to provide some explanation of the fit process.  Some of you may need similar adjustments. So these details may or may not help you with your fitting process.   By no means am I an expert, but this process helped me get the best fit for this garment.

  • The full bust adjustment is usually the first thing I tackled. I start with examining the pattern and determining how much more width is needed to make the front bodice fit.  My adjustment can be anywhere between 1.5" to 2.5".  With this adjustment I decided to make two waist darts instead of one.  The FBA extended into the yoke pattern as well.  When I tried on the muslin, Rhonda saw a few more adjustments needed in the yoke, the side, and the armhole.

  •  The yoke had to be adjusted above the bust at the armhole and on the side of the bust at the armhole.  So the front armhole was decreased by 1/2", 1/4" in each area.  See above pictures.  Next, the side seam needs to be taken in starting 2" below the armhole almost to the waist.  The front sleeve was fine.
  • The prominent shoulder blade adjustment.  I made a 3/4" adjustment.  At the left shoulder seam I made a small dart and at the right shoulder seam I eased the excess to fit the front yoke shoulder seam.  This was a test to see which construction technique looks the best.  And the small shoulder dart was the winner giving a smooth seam and curve at the shoulder.

Left shoulder seam with dart.

Right shoulder seam with ease.

  • As Rhonda worked her way around the upper back, she indicated that more room was needed in the upper back sleeve area.  She pulled out the stitches and re-pinned the upper sleeve to secure the change.
  • Next, she said that the shoulder seam was not aligned and that I needed to add about 1/2"to the back along the shoulder seam near the armhole and reduce the same amount on the front yoke.  I think this is a forward shoulder adjustment.  The shoulder seam should be parallel to the ear.  You can see the marked adjustment in the picture above. 
  • My initial swayback adjustment was not enough.  Starting from the right side front all the way around the back, I need to reduce the length at the waist.  So that the waist remains parallel to the floor all the way around.  The reduced length now needs to be added to the hem of the skirt so that the dress hangs evenly.

These changes were transferred to the tissue pattern to finalize the fit adjustments for this dress.  Now, this dress pattern is ready to make into my fashion fabric.

This process is so important.  Making a muslin gives you the experience of making the garment, testing not only the fit but also the construction.  You will be able to identify any challenges with making the garment.  Without the expense of cutting into your fashion fabric, you can determine whether or not you like the style. So many benefits of the muslin making and fitting process.

My next step for this project is to choose a fabric for the actual dress.  Hopefully, I can decide this week.  I think for sure I'll make two dresses.  A lot of work went into getting the fit right.  I'll be able to benefit from this exercise for future projects of similar style lines.  I'll use the muslin and the pattern as a point of reference.  That will save me some time with future adjustments.

I hope you find something useful in this post.

Happy Sewing!


  1. How wonderful to have a trained eye to see the fine line adjustments that we may otherwise miss. It would be great to have a sloper with all the adjustments to use for future sewing projects.

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this detailed look at fitting a muslin. It will be fascinating to see how this work translates into the finished garment.

    My passion is fitting and I do a lot of work for my "clients" (ASG buddies, family, friends). I absolutely support the importance of tissue fitting and muslin fitting. The paper pattern provides the design lines - the fit has to created by the sewist. How could it be otherwise, with our wonderfully unique bodies?

  3. I love your posts on fitting! I always learn so much from you!

  4. I agree with the importance of muslins! I am learning that too. I absolutely love this pattern, and can see how well it fits with your changes. I look forward to seeing the final look.

  5. Great visual and explanation of the importance of muslins. Thanks, Cenetta.

  6. Thank you everyone. I appreciate your comments.

  7. Is it possible to do the fitting by yourself? I'm intrigued with the idea of fitting a pattern to myself. It's hard for me to imagine how this wold be accomplished. After all, I don't have eyes in the back of my head, right? :)

    1. It is possible. I do it all the time by myself. First you might need someone to help you get a full set of measurements. These measurement and ease can is your start to fitting flat pattern and creating a muslin. I also use a full size mirror to see the back view. It takes time, but it is doable. Thanks. C



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